FAQ on Residential Treatment Facilities
If the RTF does not have an on-site school program, the student will attend the public school of zone in the school system where the facility is located.
If the RTF does have an on-site school, the Child and Family Team (CFT) will determine if the student should attend public school or attend the on-site school at the facility. The determination is made based on the intensiveness of the student’s treatment needs as well as the best interest of the student’s educational progress. There are periodic reviews by the CFT such that a student who starts in the on-site school may transfer to the public school.
On-site school programs are approved by the Tennessee State Department of Education. Credits, therefore, will transfer to public schools.
First contact the DCS Family Worker (FSW) or Provider Agency Case Manager. He or she may be able to address your concern. If not, the FSW in each office has access to an Education Specialist. The primary responsibility of that person is to advocate for your child in any matter related to school. That includes visiting schools, attending meetings, and helping solve difficult issues.
Yes, unless a judge has specifically revoked your rights to do so. You may attend meetings with teachers, go to Individualized Education Program (IEP) meetings, etc. You have the same rights if your child is attending public school. You should always let your DCS FSW or Provider Agency case manager know when you are going to go to a meeting and prior to any visit to an RTF or school.
If my child or foster child was receiving special education services in a previous school, will he continue to receive services in public school or in a RTF?
In most all cases, yes. The new school (whether public or an on-site program associated with DCS) is to use the IEP from the previous school to provide comparable services until an IEP meeting is scheduled to see if any changes are necessary.
In Tennessee, the State Board of Education has established minimum requirements for graduation. These can be found Tennessee Education website.
These are the graduation requirements for students attending RTF on-site school programs. The DCS education division can issue diplomas for students who meet graduation requirements while in these programs.
However, be aware that each public school system may add additional requirements to the State’s minimum requirements. If your student leaves a RTF and returns to a public school (or changes public schools), it is always best to go to the new school’s website or contact your DCS FSW or Provider Agency case manager to ensure that you know the exact requirements.
Yes, there are specific state and DCS requirements to be eligible to prepare and test. Contact your DCS FSW or Provider Agency case manager. The Child and Family Team will meet to discuss this option. Student must be tested at an off-site location.
It could. Because each school system may add additional requirements to the State’s minimum requirements, your child’s may need additional credits. If your child is a senior and must change schools, immediately contact your DCS FSW or Provider Agency case manager. Schools are most often willing to work with our Educational Specialists to come to a solution.
The student should schedule a time to talk with the school counselor at the school. In addition, the DCS Independent Living Division may be able to offer the student additional benefits, funding, or programming. You should contact your DCS FSW or Provider Agency case manager to schedule a time to speak with an Independent Living Specialist.